Parents working to keep Washington School open
Photo: Video by tmj4.com
SHEBOYGAN - Parents spent Wednesday night, once again, trying to convince board members to keep Washington School open.
The battle pits people who love their school against a board focusing on the bottom line. But, parents question who was watching the bottom line when the school put in a million dollar expansion.
Dave Blevons has a fourth grader at Washington and he says spending $1 million dollars, even if it was over 10 years ago, was a big waste of money. His daughter is broken hearted about the idea that she may have to go to another school next year.
Back in 2000, when this building was 90 years old, the Sheboygan school district put $1 million dollars into it, partly to get classrooms out of the basement.
"Having kids spend the majority of their day with no windows, that's one of the reasons why we did it," said Sheboygan Schools Superintendent Joe Sheehan. "In hindsight, if I'd be in the same situation with the budget we had at the time, I would, we would, have done it again."
Parents now have a grassroots effort to try to keep Washington open. So far, a thousand people have signed their petition.
Marilyn Montemayor, whose grandsons go to Washington, says that as she has been going door to door asking people to sign the petition, and they are eager to do so.
"One person said to me, 'That's the dumbest idea they ever heard of,'" she explained. "'Of course, we should keep the school open.'"
If the school closes, students would be sent to two other schools in the district. The superintendent's office is working on other ideas, but one of those means they would lose state funding for programs like Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
Jim Graham, who is a volunteer for Big Brothers/Big Sisters says the first grader who he visits weekly is concerned.
"When I was here, he gave me his phone number and address 'cause he's afraid they're gonna shut the school down," said Graham.
The school board is expected to vote on the matter April 9.